Side dish: Hong Do ate a rather sad looking meal out of a rice cooker while holed up in the closet. This need not have happened if she had consulted “21 Surprising Things You Can Make In A Rice Cooker”. With recipes covering breakfast to dessert, Hong Do could have stayed in the closet indefinitely.
Seven years ago, dreamy cop, Jang Doo Soo (Lee Jae Yoon) covered anthrophobe, Cha Hong Do (Choi Gang Hee) with a blanket after arresting the thief who attacked her home. In the days that follow, he stops by to check security, and leaves cups to replace the ones he broke while apprehending the thief. Thus began Hong Do’s crush on Doo Soo.
Present day, Hong Do is in bed with chaebol psychiatrist, Ko Yi Seok (Chun Jung Myung). She is awakened by the sounds of his girlfriend, Yeon Woo calling his cell phone. Half asleep, Yi Seok is surprisingly affectionate towards Hong Do, as Yeon Woo walks in. An alarmed Hong Do runs away with all of the blanket, but that’s okay, because Yi Seok is fully clothed (was he expecting company?!).
Rather than being angry that he cheated on her, Yeon Woo is incensed that her boyfriend spent the entire night at Hong Do’s side, which he always refused to do with her. Yi Seok is uncharacteristically silent as she breaks up with him on the spot. He is more vocal as Hong Do runs home to hide in her bedroom closet.
Yi Seok goes to work, and failing to find Hong Do at her desk, pesters Doo Soo for her home address. When Doo Soo refuses to give him the information, Yi Seok threatens to fire Hong Do. Doo Soo attempts to reach Hong Do by phone, but she is busy fighting unbidden memories of the night before with Yi Seok.
Doo Soo is eating crap in the absence of Hong Do’s homemade side dishes, and his partner complains about this loss. Despite both he and his partner agreeing that Doo Soo should stay away from Hong Do, Doo Soo can’t help but stop by her house, and shout encouragement from outside.
Yi Seok is also suffering in Hong Do’s absence. He complains about the return of the tinnitus, every time he meets with patients, to his psychiatry mentor, Uhm Gi Choon (Seo Yi Sook). Yi Seok casually mentions that he slept with Hong Do, and Gi Choon is rightfully horrified by the abuse of the doctor-patient relationship. She manhandles him, and it is very entertaining.
Having fired Hong Do’s senior citizen persona, Oh Young Rae, the Chairman (Joo Hyun) searches for her replacement. He is getting sass from his butler, and winds up ailing in bed over apprehension about the way he smells.
The Chairman’s butler is the only one Hong Do answers her phone for. He convinces her to return in order to clarify the misunderstanding with the Chairman about his smell. Suddenly, the Chairman is amenable to her return, and denies that he would fire her over such a petty reason. Hong Do refuses the Chairman’s job offer, but soon finds out that she is at risk of being homeless after her landlady increases the rent.
After two days absence, Yi Seok is wondering if Hong Do is in love with him, and using inanimate objects to simulate Hong Do at her desk. He leaves obnoxious messages on her voice mail in which he paints her as love sick, and warns her against returning to the office with threats.
Doo Soo’s partner continues to pester him about Hong Do. He torments Doo Soo by reiterating that as an engaged man, Doo Soo must stay away from Hong Do, but then, alarms Doo Soo by relaying Yi Seok’s reputation for seducing his female patients.
Doo Soo cannot help but confront Yi Seok in the middle of the night with his fear that the psychiatrist has slept with his patient. Yi Seok breezily confirms this, and gets a punch in the face. Yi Seok remains lippy, pointing out that he and Hong Do were two consenting adults, plus Doo Soo is about to be married, so should not concern himself about Hong Do.
It is only when Doo Soo points out that Yi Seok’s actions may have caused Hong Do to become house bound again that Yi Seok looks guilty. Yi Seok retreats to his car, and begins hallucinating about Hong Do cuddling up to him so that they fall asleep together.
Hong Do refuses the Chairman’s offer of her old job back, because she is intimidated by the prospect of change. However, after she fails to get a loan from the bank for to make rent, Hong Do gives in to Yi Seok’s entreaties to return to his office.
Meanwhile, Yi Seok’s sister, struggling actress, Ko Se Ro (Ahn So Hee) is ready to strip during an audition. Yet, she is uncomfortable playing a role in a scenario that echoes her own family situation.
Hong Do returns to Yi Seok’s office, and apologizes for using him to get over Doo Soo. She expresses trepidation that Yi Seok now has feelings for her, which Yi Seok adamantly denies. Hong Do is relieved, and Yi Seok acts flabbergasted.
Doo Soo is grimly wedding dress shopping with his fiancée. The poor woman appears defeated as she releases Doo Soo from his wedding duties so that he can attend to a drunken Se Ro, who is spewing English and stripping at the police station.
Hong Do and Yi Seok can’t get their minds away from their night together. She stresses about whether he saw the hole in her underwear. Under the pretext of professional treatment, he tasks her with writing in a journal about her feelings for him, and what she enjoyed about their night together.
Despite the transparency of Yi Seok’s request, Hong Do complies and starts a journal. She is forced to be cryptic to prevent Yi Seok from finding out about her alter ego’s relationship with the Chairman. Distracted by a pair of mittens she knitted for Doo Soo, Hong Do leaves the gift at Doo Soo’s home with a letter saying goodbye.
Yi Seok remains put off by how easily Hong Do put their night together behind her. He begins to doubt her anthrophobia, since she appears so comfortable around him. Yet, Hong Do is blushing when Yi Seok finds her working in his office. Though they are quick to claim that their night together meant nothing, Hong Do finds excuses to touch Yi Seok, and Yi Seok only protests weakly. She insists that her feelings for Doo Soo remain, but finally admits that she liked being with Yi Seok. Yi Seok soberly confesses that he did, too.
After visiting Hong Do’s house, and texting her without receiving a response, Doo Soo goes to Yi Seok’s clinic. He walks in on a bizarre exercise in skinship, with Yi Seok lying on top of Hong Do to induce her to say “Doctor”. They belatedly notice a shocked looking Doo Soo.
How did “Heart to Heart” pull things around so quickly? I experienced some buyer’s remorse after the first episode. Now, I am loving the show, and every loveable character on it, even side characters like the sassy butler, and Yi Seok’s indignant professional mentor.
Most notable was the breezily obnoxious Yi Seok; I am impressed with Chung Jung Myung’s light approach to the character, which has made him so ludicrous yet likeable. Hong Do is also growing on me as she and her anthrophobia have become less ridiculous. I appreciate that rather than obsessing over losing her virginity to Yi Seok, she is concerned about the messiness of their ensuing feelings. Finally, the third part of the love triangle, Doo Soo has become considerably more interesting as he transforms into a cad. It was hilarious how his partner did nothing but exacerbate the war inside Doo Soo between leaving Hong Do alone and giving in to his anxiety about her. Fortunately for us, Doo Soo can’t concentrate on his impending nuptials.
It is great that in spite of how immature they are, Yi Seok and Hong Do are acting like adults about sex, and neither squeamish nor feeling guilty. This is exactly the attitude I expected from the PD behind “First Shop of Coffee Prince”. Please keep the smut coming, Lee Yoon Jung shi!